Peak Tower revamp may see visitor figures hit new heights

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 August, 2006, 12:00am

The refurbished Peak Tower will open its new rooftop viewing area on Friday, with the rest of the tourist landmark opening in phases over three months.

The rooftop can hold up to 500 people and has already attracted keen interest for corporate bookings and private functions, said Martyn Sawyer, group general manager of properties and clubs for Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, which owns the tower.

So far there is one confirmed booking for part of the viewing platform for an event in mid-October, he said.

Inside, two new restaurants, Tien Yi Chinese Restaurant and Japanese eatery Kyo Hachi, will open at the same time. This will be followed by Bubba Gump, which is themed after the Hollywood hit, Forrest Gump, on September 13, and Australian seafood restaurant Pearl on the Peak on October 1.

The new tower will be inaugurated on November 14. There will be two weeks of street theatre and live entertainment featuring local talent, Mr Sawyer said.

The Tourism Board will hold free tai chi classes on the rooftop every Saturday after the grand opening.

'This is really a half-day or even a whole-day experience,' Mr Sawyer said.

He expects the HK$100 million facelift of the tower to attract more visitors to The Peak but said he would stick to the Tourism Board's total visitor estimate of 27 million for this year. Seven million people visited The Peak last year, with 4.1 million travelling by the Peak Tram.

Business on The Peak is expected to benefit from government plans to renovate the outdoor diamond-shaped plaza area enclosed by the tower, the Peak Lookout restaurant and the Peak Galleria.

The Architectural Services Department has an approved budget of about HK$150 million and is converting the space into a 'mini amphitheatre'.

The expenditure will be spread over five years until 2010. Surrounding slopes and roads, including Findlay Road and Lugard Road, will also be repaved.

Mr Sawyer said discussions were continuing with the Tourism Commission about plans to incorporate the tower in the nightly harbourfront Symphony of Lights show.

'You can't really see much of the Peak Tower from the harbour, but we do want to complement the show.'